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STAY LOCAL | Vol. 17, No. 5, March 11, 2010
(Stay Local)

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IN Stay Local Survey

IN: What separates your independent business from the national, regional and Internet competitors?

Personal service. We make what you want the way that you want it. Family and local businesses can do this.
--Geno's Pizza & Italian Restaurant

We strive to carry brands you can't get at chain stores. We offer knowledge and service you can't get online. More than anything, we enjoy what we do, and our customers know that.
--Intracoastal Outfitters

Higher quality, total freshness for our local market. A chain store cannot possibly offer a fresher product than we do. With coffee it really makes a difference when you have a quality product that's freshly roasted.
--Keens Beans

Unlike traditional supermarkets which see food as merely another product to sell, Ever'man views the food we eat as part of the chain of life, emphasizing nutritional value and holistic health. Employee training is one of our highest priorities. We also make food and nutrition information available in the store.
--Ever'man Natural Foods Cooperative

Knowledge. We hand pick and taste test the wines we sell. We don't sell corporate or grocery store wines. We don't buy bad wines on close-out and try to sell them to our customers just to have something cheap to sell. There is plenty of good wine on the market today, but we're looking for the great stuff.
--Artesana Fine Wines

All direct employees, subcontractors, suppliers and consultants are local residents who live and work in our community and have a vested interest in completing our projects with quality and on schedule.
--Williams Brown, Inc.

Unlike larger companies, we are lucky enough to have close relationships with other local businesses. We are always keeping our eye out for local bakers, farmers and artisans so that we can set up retail accounts with them. Ever'man offers a variety of local products--everything from candles to local eggs. We're always working hard to support the local guy.
--Ever'man Natural Foods Cooperative

We have a great opportunity to make a connection with each guest. We build relationships that perhaps a company based in another city wouldn't necessarily concern itself with. We really enjoy getting to know our guests and becoming a part of their lives.
--The Fish House, The Atlas Oyster House, The Fish House Deck Bar

Individual attention and just plain tender loving care.
--Spirit Gate Medicine

We have over 55 years of surfboard building knowledge and experience in our surfboard manufacturing department. We offer a safe indoor skate park environment for local and traveling skaters with a nice viewing mezzanine for friends and parents. We also offer the fastest ding repair service in town.

I work directly with my customers and cater to their specific and individual needs on a client by client basis, unlike chain stores, which must deal with mass appeal.
--The Monogram Lady

We sell books that are hard to find in other stores. We have a small but diverse selection of fiction and literature and books on philosophy, world religions, history and art as well as graphic novels and children's and young adult. We sell both new and used books, and our prices are affordable. Proceeds benefit the Prison Book Project.
--Open Books

Decisions are made locally and not by an out of area corporate office. This results in better service to our customers and a faster turnaround time. When you call you will not have to press a menu of numbers to get assistance. Our phones are answered by people, not machines.    
--Gulf Coast Community Bank

It is all about service and the attention to detail. If you think it is expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.
--In Detail Kitchens~Baths~Interiors

We are able to read the public's needs and react. The directives don't come down from a corporate headquarters that may not have a clue about local needs.
--New World Landing

IN: What are your secrets to success?

Happy clients. We have an awesome team of counselors who love what they do. If you do a good job, your clients will be happy and your business will grow. It's that simple.
--Physicians Weight Loss Centers

We've been here since 1953-- under our current owner since 1984--and we've come to know what our customers want. We try to please them.
--Pensacola Photo Supply

We strive to always have an eagerness for personal and professional growth. That in turn translates into a business that is always looking for ways to improve.
--New World Landing

Get involved in our community, have the ultimate say in the decisions of the business and have an understanding that our customers are our best advertising.
--Coastal Moving & Storage and Pensacola Moving & Storage

Caring about my customers and my business reputation.
--Aragon Wine Market

Always being a student. Education is key.
--Self Salon

Relationships and remembering that our customers feed us.
--All Pro Sound

Our secret has been to pay the price to retain employees that have the personality to successfully interact with the public and have the knowledge of sewing that is required to serve the customers we cater to. Training and acquiring knowledge is expensive and time consuming, so paying higher salaries will pay off in the long run.
--Derrel's of Pensacola

All of our teachers are extremely well trained and were handpicked by owner Nancy LaNasa, who herself has over 20 years of experience teaching yoga. Consistent good quality--That's what we strive for.
--Abhaya Yoga Center

Always look for ways to improve our methods of doing business. We evolve with our relationships--Over 90 years you develop a wide range of customers, and having something for everyone is important.
--Elebash Jewelry Company

We stay on top of technology, trends and news, and continually learn and grow. We think globally and act locally.
--SPROUT Content

Working hard, loving what we do, and appreciating our customers. We wouldn't have been able to grow our business without the support of members of our local community who are shopping locally.

Relentless fighting spirit.
--Susan Campbell Jewelry

Over-the-top customer service and treating employees like family.
--PR Chemical & Paper Supply

Good old fashioned one-on-one customer service.
--Deborah Dunlap's Historic Pensacola Photographs

Staying focused on what we're good at and controlling our overhead.
--Williams Brown, Inc.

Passion for the brands and products I carry, a commitment to our customers and an unrelenting attention to detail.
--Intracoastal Outfitters

We run a wine shop that we would want to shop in.
--Artesana Fine Wines

We want to stay small and flexible to the ever changing environment. We have specialized agents that understand their clients' businesses.
--McGraw Insurance Services

Customers always come first!
--Sassafras Stationery & Gifts

IN: What are the disadvantages of being a local, independently owned business?

I see none other than the constant battle to make people aware of how much they can impact their local community by purchasing locally.
--In Detail Kitchens~Baths~Interiors

All marketing and advertising costs are carried directly by the facility. There are no national cross promotion or co-op
advertising dollars.
--New World Landing

Price is always the reason people go outside their local area to buy. Chains and Internet sites don't offer convenience of service after the sale. This saves them money and they can offer products cheaper.
--Derrel's of Pensacola

Economies of scale are hard to come by in a small business.
--Sassafras Stationery & Gifts

Convincing people that buying locally means buying from a Pensacola-based
business, not Mobile, Tallahassee or Montgomery. We see in our industry that some local companies do not see the reward to our community by keeping their dollars in the local economy.
--PR Chemical & Paper Supply

We develop and advertise our own brand. Many of the chain stores benefit from national advertising and branding.
--Elebash Jewelry Company

Having to compete against
national mall chain stores that are publicly traded companies with working capital behind them.

As a co-op, the wheels can sometimes turn too slowly with missed opportunities. It is important to hear everyone's (members, staff, and board directors) ideas and make informed decisions. Their fresh ideas and outside perspectives may stir up new energy and inspiration; however, all of this input may slow down progress.  
--Ever'man Natural Foods Cooperative